The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) presents Chicago author Cristina Henríquez on Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m. at the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago (31 W Ohio St).The Crain’s “40 under 40” writer will discuss herNew York Times Notable Book, The Book of Unknown Americans, with Free Street Theater artistic director Coya Paz. The evening will open with a performance by poet Javon J. Smith, and a book signing will follow the program. Tickets range from $5-15 and are currently on sale at chicagohumanities.orgor via the CHF Box Office at 312-494-9509.
Henríquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans follows the journeys of two families–one Panamanian, one Mexican–from Latin America to their adopted homeland of the United States. At its heart, though, this is a love story, one by turns suspenseful and wry. The Washington Post calls it a “Vivid…Striking… ringing paean to love in general: to the love between man and wife, parent and child, outsider and newcomer, pilgrims and promised land.”
“What I love about Cristina’s work is that she reminds us to look again,” said Paz. “Immigration isn’t our story. Our stories are in the details, in the way that individual characters respond to shared circumstances in ways that are surprising and uniquely theirs. The Book of Unknown Americans tells a gripping story that is both surprising and achingly familiar.”
Chicago author Cristina Henríquez has written the story collection Come Together, Fall Apart (a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection) and another novel, The World in Half. Her nonfiction work has appeared in TheNew Yorker and TheAtlantic. She is a recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award and was recently named to Crain’s “40 under 40” list. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Book of Unknown Americans, was named one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books as well as a Top 10 Book of 2014 by Amazon. Henríquz earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently lives in Chicago.
Henríquez will be in discussion with Coya Paz. Paz is a writer, director, and lip gloss connoisseur who was raised in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and the United States. She is the artistic director of Free Street Theater, a cofounder of the Proyecto Latina collective, and served as the founding co-artistic director of Teatro Luna for nine years. Paz is an assistant professor in the theatre school at DePaul University and holds a PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University. She is a regular commentator on race, politics, and pop culture for Vocalo.org
The evening will open with a performance by Javon J. Smith, a budding poet, playwright, performer, educator, and activist. Smith received his BA in secondary education English from DePaul University with minors in African and Black diaspora studies, LGBTQ studies, and theater studies. He coaches for the speech team at his alma mater, Thornton Township High School in Harvey, IL. He is currently working on his own poetry collection called Righteous Rage.
Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, Auditorium (31 W Ohio St)
G $15, M $10, ST $5
For more information about the Cristina Henríquez program, visitchicagohumanities.org. Tickets range from $5-15 and are on sale now onlineor through the CHF Box Office at 312-494-9509, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Discounted tickets are available for CHF members and students/teachers. To become a member, visitsupportchf.org. A $6 per order processing fee is applied to all pre-event sales.
Is there anyone cooler than Kim Gordon? The founding member of the seminal band Sonic Youth is also a talented musician, artist, writer, and, oh yeah, role model to a generation of women. Now she’s written a memoir recounting her life as a musician and artist, including her partnership and eventual professional and personal breakup with Thurston Moore. Girl in a Band takes us back to the post-punk scene of New York in the 1980s and ’90s, when Sonic Youth helped create a musical revolution. Come spend the evening with Gordon, a trailblazing lady of rock and roll, with a special opening performance by Girls Rock! Chicago alum Alex Lund. This program is presented in partnership with the Music Box Theatre.
For 25 years, the Chicago Humanities Festival has celebrated the questions that shape and define us as individuals, communities, and cultures. For the intellectually curious, CHF’s vibrant year-round programming and robust Fall Festival offer the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most brilliant minds. Collaborating with leading arts, cultural, and educational organizations, it presents scholars, artists and architects, thinkers, theologians, and policy makers that change how we see the world, where we’re from, and where we’re going. CHF also presents the spring Stages, Sights & Sounds international children’s theater festival.
The Chicago Humanities Festival has grown from eight programs in one day at a single venue in 1990, to 160 programs year-round at more than 25 venues in and around Chicago. Over the past 25 years, CHF hasput on more than 2,600 programs and performances, and presented more than 3,300 speakers and artists, including: 10 Nobel Prize winners, 70 Pulitzer Prize winners, 52 MacArthur Award recipients, 16 Tony Award winners, 10 Grammy Award winners, and seven Academy Award winners. Visitchicagohumanities.org for more information.